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River and canal safety

Our waterways contribute to the beautiful scenery in our area but they can also be dangerous. Use this page to understand how to keep yourself and others safe around our waterways.

Helping in an emergency

The water may look safe, but it can be very dangerous. If you see someone in the river, do not enter the water. Please follow these instructions:

  • Dial 999, ask for 'fire'

If you can see a River Rescue Cabinet:

  • give the Fire Service the location reference on the front of the cabinet
  • open the cabinet using the keypad and code that the Fire Service will provide
  • find the yellow rescue buoy with the rope attached
  • hold the end of the rope and throw the buoy to the person in the water
  • keep hold of the end of the rope until help arrives

River Rescue Cabinets 

Watch the following video for information on how to use the River Rescue Cabinets that are distributed along our waterways.

You can also view the locations of the River Rescue Cabinets using the map below.

The River Safety Group

The River Safety Group is a multi-agency group made up of representatives from Avon and Somerset Constabulary, Avon Fire and Rescue, Bath & North East Somerset Council, the Environment Agency and the Canal and Rivers Trust.  It is also supported by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA).

The Group has implemented a number of safety precautions along the River Avon. The River Safety Group is keen to emphasise that although the River Avon is a beautiful part of the city, people are reminded of the importance of staying safe around the water, particularly at night time.

As a member of the multi-agency River Safety Group, we continually work with its partners to improve safety along the River Avon to ensure that new and existing safety measures make it as safe as possible.

However, acts such as vandalism and theft hinder the Group’s efforts to improve safety along the river. We have worked with Avon Fire and Rescue to develop more robust, vandal-proof cabinets for life-saving equipment along the River Avon.